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America lost more than it realized today. Styron was, of course, appreciated by a great number of writers, readers, and critics. But, these days, he isn't usually mentioned in the same sentence as Philip Roth, John Updike, or Norman Mailer, the elder statesmen of contemporary American literature. There are some legitimate reasons for that. Reputation is often simply a function of output and, since 1993, Styron hadn't published anything new. He was then dealing with serious depression, which he wrote eloquently about in one of his last works, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, and he would be in and out of hospitals from there.

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